Teen pregnancy and an absentee father are odd starting places for a family network television show, but that’s where the Gilmore Girls story really starts. Lorelai’s accidental pregnancy at 16 was only openly criticized a couple of times – as asides by Mrs Kim and in that incident with the Stars Hollow’s Stepford moms.
Stepford Mom 1: So, you’re preaching to our daughters that it’s okay to get pregnant at sixteen, am I getting that right?
Lorelai: No, not at all, I was just answering their questions.
Stepford Mom 1: Sounds like you just flaunted your mistakes.
Lorelai: Now, hold on. You have no right to judge me. All I said was that for my particular circumstances things worked out okay. I advocated nothing to them. You’re all acting like I walked into that room tossing condoms in the air.
Stepford Mom 2: You might as well have.
Lorelai: Fine, next time I will. I’ll bring a banana and we’ll have a little show and tell. How ‘bout that?
Stepford Mom 1: What kind of mother are you?
Lorelai: The kind that doesn’t gloss over things just because they’re a little uncomfortable.
And while it was criticised then, it was never, ever regretted. Rory was unconditionally loved.
Student 1: Well, are you sorry you got pregnant?
Lorelai: No, it brought me Rory, but timing is everything. I mean, I could’ve. . .sixteen, you guys are sixteen, right . . .and hey, is that clock right?
Student 2: What do you mean by timing?
Student 1: Yeah, if you had waited and had a baby with another man at a different time. . .
Student 3: It wouldn’t have been Rory, right?
Lorelai: Hey, you know what’s fun to talk about? Late checkout.
In the same way Mrs Doubtfire (rest in peace Robin Williams, you loveable maniac) cemented the notion of non-traditional yet fully functional families into social consciousness, Gilmore Girls continues to lessen the stigma around non-nuclear families – and it does this somewhat counterintuitively… by barely referencing it.
Instead, they focus on the present. We see foxy mom Lorelai bringing up the perfect daughter with standards, rocket-powered wit and bootcut jeans. She has created her own home and built her own life around her own dreams. I heard someone discussing Stevie Nicks on the radio, saying she’d coccooned herself with like-minded people, creating a safe environment where she could be herself and create, without fear. I think Stars Hollow was that safe nest for Lorelai, to be able to create her life and the life she wanted for Rory. How they got there didn’t matter.
Mass media and popular culture seem to be nudging kids to grow up earlier, becoming sexualised and sex-aware earlier. Like the internet and progress, you can’t put this stuff back in a box. It just is – or maybe it’s always been like this. Either way, it doesn’t mean a mother can’t still try to pass on life lessons…
Lorelai: Does he have a motorcycle? ‘Cause if you’re gonna throw your life away, he better have a motorcycle!
… but whether a daughter is actually going to listen or not, well… that’s a whole other can of beans.
How do you feel Gilmore Girls handled the subject of teen pregnancy?
Given the range of media already out there – from Miley Cyrus to Judy Blume – do you think there’s a ‘right’ age for girls to be introduced to Lorelai’s world?
Do you think Lorelai and Rory’s relationships with guys were good or bad examples of real-world options and behaviour?
Pics c/o TheWB